News

Feminist Organizing: Some resources to draw upon

Here are some bibliographic resources on feminist organizational practices from the By-law Revision committee report submitted by Betty Donaldson and Kathy Sage November 28, 2023. For a full copy of the By-law Revision Committee Report, please contact Betty Donaldson and/or Kathy Sage.

Bibliography:

Canadian Resources:

Women and Gender Equality Canada This website is a resource for those interested in reducing workplace inequities; gender-based violence; exclusion based upon disability, race and education. It identifies indicators and funding possibilities but there is not much about how to operate differently except for a reference to an indigenous women’s circle. -Contributed by Betty D.

Government of Canada Gender Equality Fund & Women & Gender Equality Canada These two sites access the formal policies of Canada and global issues with respect to some women’s issues. -Contributed by Betty D.

Canadian Women’s Foundation This Canadian Women’s Foundation is Toronto-based. It acknowledges eight Founding Mothers and lists feminist principles for fundraising that are a “work in progress”. -Contributed by Betty D.

Academic Article: Alternative to Hierarchies in Feminist Organizational Design: A Case Study by Marilyn E. Laiken. In Feminist Success Stories/Célébrons nos réussites féministes edited by Karen A. Blackford, Marie-Luce Garneau and Sandra Kirby. Open Edition Books License My takeaway from this article is that it does not offer a prescription for our organization, CUUWA, to follow, but lays out the issues that women face in their daily lives in plain language. I especially resonate with how it describes our lives as women as sliced and diced in modern society – or compartmentalized. – Contributed by Najat A-M

American Resources:

Coalition of Feminists for Social Change This Coalition of Feminists for Social Change appears to be American lead with a focus upon reducing violence against girls and women. It has a coordinating Council and a Secretariat. The organization, which focuses on practitioners in the humanitarian and development spheres, describes itself as anti-hierarchy and collaborative. -Contributed by Betty D.

International Resources:

Action Aid This international organization uses regional hubs to develop local feminist leadership that reduces poverty and inequities in areas suffering crises, whatever the origin. The 10 feminist principles are backed up by pragmatic guidelines. The web sites are very good, reflecting years of field experience in difficult situations. -Contributed by Betty D.

CUUWA Genocide Memorial Stone Dedication – December 2023

Rev. Audrey Brooks, Retired Unitarian Community Minister and CUUWA member, has 42 stones in her Edmonton Genocide Garden. Each memorial commemorates a horrific genocide event that has occurred somewhere in the world. On December 8, 2023, during the Ignite Change 2023 Global Human Rights Convention, at Siloh Baptist Church, a featured event will be the dedication of the CUUWA Memorial stone. It is the first stone to focus specifically upon violence against women and features 2 never-to-be-forgotten Canadian tragedies that target women.

Let us remember:

  • Dec 6, 1989 – During the Montreal Massacre, 14 women, mostly students but some staff, were murdered at an engineering institute in Montreal because they were women. Most were enrolled as students in a professional career that is predominantly male, but a few were staff. Discrimination against women continues to be a bias in many workplaces.
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) is a movement that acknowledges the thousands of women who have disappeared, many along the northern BC “Highway of Tears”, near camps and some reserves. This violence is ongoing.

Violence against women is a component of patriarchal society that is international. Such brutality results in a generational loss that destroys individual lives, depletes families, and reduces humanity in everyone. The CUUWA stone is intended to be a memorial to all women who die violently because of their gender. The aspiration is that such highlighted public attention will inspire us to live more thoughtfully, honourably, and peacefully. We thank the two organizations (Lil Red Dress; Montreal Memorial Monument) for permission to use their images and are grateful for their ongoing advocacy.

The CUUWA supports initiatives that develop various personal, professional, public, and political aspects of women’s lives. We invite you to explore our website.

Please see below for the program for the 15th Annual Genocide Memorial Service.

For further information about the Genocide Garden in Edmonton, please contact:

Rev. Audrey Brooks, (retired) Unitarian Community Minister; 
Member, Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Advocacy
Interfaith chaplain, University of Alberta
Member of the Raging Grannies
Phone 1-780-489-8842
audbrook@telus.net  -or- audbrook@telusplanet.net

Pink Tea with El Jones: A Success!

We had 30+ participants attend our 2023 Pink Tea & AGM, both virtually and in-person at the Ottawa Unitarian Fellowship.

El Jones delivered an impactful performance and everyone went home with a different message.

If you are among those feminists who missed this powerful speaker, El Jones’ performances are available on youtube, and she also has two volumes of poetry published, Live from the Afrikaan Resistance! and Abolitionist Intimacies.

Feminist Watching Group

What are you watching that has a feminist angle? Streaming, TV, film or theatre–all good!

Contact UnitarianMary@gmail.com to get added to our googlegroup and receive updates. We meet online on the 4th Sunday of the month at 3:30 pm Pacific./ 7:30 Eastern / 8:30 pm Atlantic

Our interests are far ranging, from feature films (ideally accessible on Netflix, Kanopy, CBC Gem or Youtube); documentaries; interviews etc.

Here are some examples of what we’ve discussed:

Take This Waltz – Available on Netflix – Directed by Sarah Polley

The Buddha’s Mother and Mary Magdalene -Rev Cynthia Bourgeault, Wendy Garling and Vicki Mackenzie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdxgL_X8mR0

Maternal- on CBC Gem
The Law According to Lidia Poet- on Netflix

Douglass by Hannah Gadsby on Netflix

Sorry for Your Loss on CBC Gem

 Stories We Tell – (documentary) available on National Film Board

The Case Against Cosby (documentary) – available on CBC Gem

The Half of It (movie) – available  on Netflix 

Movie – “The Wonder” on Netflix

Documentary – “Far Out is Not Far Enough” – a portrayal of Tommy Ungerer.

Available on Kanopy.

Zoom link: https://tinyurl.com/feministwatch

Right to Abortion

CUSJ (Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice) and CUUWA

(Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s Association)

STATEMENT on Access to Abortion in Canada and the United States

2022 05 05

WOMEN IN CANADA, STAND ON GUARD

CUSJ and CUUWA stand together today with our sisters across the border as they face off with a Supreme Court, selected by a polarized judiciary, that has leaked its intention to overturn Roe Vs Wade and open the door for each State to make its own decisions about women’s rights to health care and to the security of the person.  According to maps produced by CNN, over half the states in the United States have either had laws in the past, have strict regulations on abortion now, or have trigger laws that will come into effect when Roe vs Wade is overturned. 

If the landmark legal decision Roe vs Wade is reversed, this will be a giant step backward for the rights of all women, and in particular for the rights of poor women, racialized women, and women whose gender identity and sexual orientation are not typical.  In the text of the decision, as it has been leaked, there is no reference to exceptions for either rape or incest.  It is the harshest possible interpretation of the law.  

The consequences of this decision will be many lives lost.  We fought for the right to abortion because poor women were dying.  A reliable doctor was hard to find. There were many tragedies using illegal and covert methods. This will be a penalty on the poor who don’t have options.  It will make living with poverty even harsher than it already is.  Women with resources will find solutions to their dilemma.  Abortions 

won’t stop.

No woman sets out in life to have an abortion, or takes the decision lightly.  Some women simply cannot bear any more children and recover to take care of a family. Having too many children depletes health, making the woman (and sometimes the child) vulnerable to chronic and acute diseases.  Too many children in a family becomes poverty for all members.  We learned during the COVID pandemic that conditions of overcrowding put whole families at risk.  Single mothers struggle more to care for any child they have.  Both mother and children have reduced opportunities to thrive in life.

A society that supports life would be a society where every child is a wanted child.  It would be a society that ensures that single mothers have all the supports they need to bring their children up with a home, food security, and dignity.  Children have the right to safety, security and social status. Few women who are raped want to raise a child created in hate and violence.  Many of these children suffer from lifelong stigma for who they are. 

A society that cherished children would ensure that if a mother could not keep her child, there would be adequate protective services to find that child a positive environment to grow up in, within their own culture.  Instead, we continue the cycles of troubled, neglected children living in abusive environments and growing up to graduate into the prison industrial complex or living without homes due to inadequate mental and physical health resources.

The abortion debate centres around who will control the bodies, the roles and social power of women in our society, and how we will build healthy families.  As responsible adults, women have the right to control over their own bodies.  They can be trusted to manage decisions on behalf of themselves and their families.  Healthy families, with equal partners who each take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities are the foundation for a healthy society — a worthy ideal.

We are fortunate, in Canada, that our political situation is not the same as in the United States.  Canadian politicians from all parties have made clear they will not be trying to reopen the debate.  Nevertheless, we should not take our situation for granted.  We have our own movement in Canada to pass a new abortion law, and they work every day to reduce access to abortions in Canada.  Although all provinces now permit medical abortions, access remans unequal and costly if travel is involved. Education about safe sex, contraception, and post-abortion counselling are not always available and free.  We can be grateful for new technology such as the abortion pill and must make sure it is available in Canada at an affordable price.

Women in Canada, stand on guard.  We have worked hard to attain full adult status in our society.  We must continue to expect our provincial and federal governments to resist lobby attempts to limit our freedoms and to respect our rights to make decisions for ourselves. 

Sisters in the United States, we stand with you and support your work to pass fairer laws making clear the rights of women to be responsible for themselves and to have security of the person. 

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s Association

CUUWA 2022 Tea and Business Meeting

The CUUWA Annual Tea and Meeting will take place on Zoom on June 11, at 12 pm Pacific, 1 pm Mountain, 2 pm Central, 3 pm Eastern, 4 pm Atlantic, and 4:30 NL time. (Saskatchewan residents, please convert the time from 3 pm Eastern.)

During the first hour, all are invited to engage in a cross-country conversation. We invite you to bring a special cup or mug filled with the hot beverage of your choice and homemade bread or treats to our Tea. After you enter from the waiting room, we will introduce ourselves.  Then we will take the time to discuss the following questions in breakout sessions:

  1. What is happening in your congregation or UU group doing around feminism? (e.g. IWD service, women’s writing group or small ministry group, partnerships with organizations, etc.) What projects show interesting, creative, feminist thinking?
  2. How can CUUWA support individuals, groups, and congregations in Canada? What feminist action or activity would you like to start or help us with?

You may enjoy reflecting on the questions alone or with friends during the weeks leading up to our meeting.

The business meeting takes place in the second hour. If you are not sure if your CUUWA membership is up to date, please contact Margaret L. to check and renew. For all other questions, contact Jo-Anne.

In order to receive the Zoom link for the meeting, you must click on this link and complete your registration. The link is to a registration form, not the meeting. Once I get the notification, I will approve your registration and you will receive the confirmation and connection information. Please contact me if you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of completing your registration. I will also send periodic reminders, including early in the day of the meeting.
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpdOmrrTwqGtO5wZcWfw9g8bx91YcmGjs9


Hope to see many of you at the Tea and meeting!

Jo-Anne, interim chair

Canadian U*U Feminist Book Club

2021-2022 Schedule

We meet every month for the Canadian U*U Feminist Book Club on the second (or alternative) Sunday at 3 Pacific, 6 Eastern, so let’s meet then for an hour on Zoom: 
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 328 662 153
Passcode: CUUWA
I Zoomed into Vancouver in the fall to talk about the waves of feminism, and thought we would use that to structure our discussions. Each month we’ll talk about a different wave and I’ll suggest some writers from that period. Of course you can choose a different book or article from that period, watch a TedTalk or a video on them, etc. I’ll give a quick intro and then we’ll go into breakout rooms to talk about our experiences with a related issue. 
Here’s our schedule: 

November 14, 2021: First wave feminism. Discussion: voting and citizenship

Suggestions

Invisible Influence: Claiming Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s History – edited by Jean Pfleiderer, Heather Fraser Fawcett, Kathy Sage

Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Brownell Anthony

Note: Postponed to December 19, 2021, instead. Second wave feminism. Discussion: consciousness-raising, employment equity and reproductive rights, 1960s and 1970s activism

Suggestions: Adrienne Rich, Gloria Steinem, Germaine Greer, Dorothy Livesay,
Margaret Laurence, Sylvia Plath

January 9, 2022: Third wave feminism. Discussion: intersectionality, privilege and disadvantage

February 13, 2022: Fourth wave feminism. Discussion: the internet, technology, global concerns

March 13, 2022: Fifth wave feminism. Discussion: Dismantling patriarchy, racism, colonialism, and capitalism

A Sunday Service in Fredericton used the resources (which will be published in the future) from our discussions to celebrate feminism on March 6, 2022.

All congregations are encouraged to hold an IWD service on a Sunday in March. Four congregations we know of (Ottawa First, Toronto First, Halifax, and Fredericton) held services on March 6 to mark the occasion.

To plan IWD service in the future, please explore the resources and theme packages on our website.